History : AMD CPUs - GoTechTalk

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

History : AMD CPUs


History : AMD CPUs Back in 1974 it was actually a little bit of corporate subterfuge that led AMD to produce its first-ever CPU, The AM9080 which was essentially a clone of Intel's 8080 that AMD reverse engineered by taking a photo of Intel's processor die and studying it closely, funnily enough though the two chip makers later came to an agreement that had AMD manufacturing Intel designed CPUs as a second source which was important to intel's customers at the time as they wanted to be able to buy their parts even if something went wrong at intel itself thus began a sort of strange symbiotic relationship between Intel and AMD where they both share technology with each other but competed in the marketplace at the same time indeed as part of the second source arrangement Intel licensed out the x86 architecture to AMD in 1976 which is what allows AMD to design and manufacture IBM compatible CPUs to this very day, however Intel ended AMD's license to print money and stopped giving exact second source processor designs to AMD starting with its widely popular 386.

So while AMD still had a license for the x86 instruction set it had to fend for itself when it came to overall CPU design, so while AMD was able to clone the 386 and 486 processors for reasons of complexity and the time-consuming process of reverse engineering intel's chips they quickly realized they needed to design their own CPU`s in-house and thusly the K5 designed to compete with the original pentium with the clock speed of up to 133 megahertz was born in 1996 the very next year 1997 was when  AMD launched the chip that allowed them to become a major player in the CPU wars the K6 with variants called the K6 2 and K6 3 coming shortly thereafter these chips competed with Intel's Pentium 2 and Pentium 3 generation CPUs offering floating-point capability for better performance in games and multimedia while retaining some of the previously enjoyed compatibility with Intel designed motherboards.

Due to AMD`s aggressive pricing the K-6 series captured a huge chunk of the mainstream PC market with the K6 2 claiming according to some sources nearly 70% of the market for PCs under $1000 at one point in 1998 and the train kept on rolling with K 7 in 1999 better known as the Athlon featuring a double data rate frontside bus to alleviate previous bottle necking as well as a heavily revamped floating-point unit to pull ahead of the Pentium 3 and speed in certain applications it was also depending on who you ask the first CPU to run at 1 billion cycles per second or 1 gigahertz, AMD also pulled some clever marketing out of its hat with the 2001 release of the Athlon XP riding on the naming of Windows XP to imply optimal compatibility and by shifting the model names of their CPU's from a number that reflects raw frequency to the PR rating system using a term like 1900 plus to describe performance relative to an earlier Athlon chip at that clock speed or as many press and enthusiasts speculated relative to Intel.

Over the next 2 years athletics p's revisions offered incremental improvements but didn't wow the industry though a neat side note is the Athlon MP an earlier Intel Skull trail like dual socket platform for power users, but in 2003 AMD  made a massive contribution to the CPU industry by rolling out the x86 64 architecture as a feature of its K a series of Athlon 64 processors, beating Intel to the punch on 64-bit computing for the desktop a groundbreaking enough move that Intel ended up licensing AMD's 64-bit instruction set extension rather than setting the standard themselves a position they've never really enjoyed being in the term AMD 64 is still used to describe the instruction sets of current CPU's from both teams for this reason AMD's other huge back-to-back innovation was to bring multi-core processing to the masses with the Athlon x2 in 2005, in fact the fact that I had an argument about whether 64-bit processing with its support for large amounts of memory or dual core technology enabling parallelization of heavy workloads was more important should illustrate just how huge AMD's back-to-back industry-changing contributions were over this short span however the solid days for AMD ended soon after due to significant push back from Intel and business decisions that were arguably over-aggressive.
AMD's chairman Jerry Sanders the third famously said that real men have fabs in 1994 but AMD built so many that they eventually became an albatross around the company's neck forcing AMD to sell them just 15 years later, currently AMD doesn't own any of its own fabs and is somewhat at the mercy of external forces as a result and although we don't know exactly why AMD's response to the turning tide has been to focus more on core count in subsequent performance CPUs such as the Phenom X4 and the FX series which became popular with home PC builders and on adding more powerful on board graphics to their APU`s although many users haven't seen enough practical benefit to these features to justify paying the same amount that Intel is able to charge reducing AMD`s profitability.
What we hope however is that the upcoming Zen architecture will see a renewed focus on single threaded performance what's important to many enthusiasts and take advantage of the smaller manufacturing processes that are finally now available at third-party chip boundaries as AMD tries to mount another challenge to its rivals in blue just three miles down the road in Santa Clara.


Alright, guys, that's the end of the blog, thanks for reading the whole way through if you enjoyed this blog please share it with someone who would be interested and leave a comment, Thanks for reading guys.

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